PWS Distributors, Leading Online Kitchen Suppliers to the Trade, Cook up Faster Performance and Rapid Response Times from their ERP and SQL Database Systems

September 01, 2016 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
Install using DataCore SANsymphony™ Software-Defined Storage and Flash supplied by Waterstons, facilitates additional e-commerce sales and employee productivity gains

READING, UK., September 1, 2016 – DataCore Software today announced that PWS Distributors, one of the UK's leading designers and suppliers of 8000 quality kitchen components available to order either on the phone or online, has deployed DataCore SANsymphony™ software. Major processing issues were restricting the growth of orders, first manifesting when new items were added to an existing order or when orders were changed in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, and this has been transformed by the Always-On Parallel-Powered Software.

Andrew Buckingham, IT Manager, PWS notes: "The statistics made grim reading given our I/O hungry SQL e-commerce platform was tracking an average product-add delay of over 1400ms. This was simply unacceptable. We looked to DataCore and Micron Flash for performance optimisation and Waterston's expertise to redefine the system."

Unacceptably slow order modifications, performance bottlenecks and management reporting:

Aware that providing an effective e-commerce experience with fast transactions was a critical requirement for future growth, PWS looked inward at their ERP and associated backend Microsoft SQL Server database. The database dynamically checks stock levels as products are added. With PWS' infrastructure, each time a product is added to an order over 400 SQL commands are triggered (200 reads, 200 insert/update/deletes) and fired across multiple tables and databases. With an expanding online catalogue, the pressure to handle workloads was especially notable at peak transaction times when performance bottlenecks emerged in the server infrastructure which simply failed to deliver. Additionally, making modifications to the system was so intensive that the process could only be scheduled to run late at night, when online trading was minimal. Management reporting on sales was also slow. Running turnover and best-selling line reports from previous transactions could take up to 30 minutes to process. For internal data processing, PWS faced additional pressures. Processing of invoicing data again was scheduled overnight, but was still taking over 2 hours to complete. Across the company, employee productivity was being eroded as staff waited for the system to catch up.

DataCore's SANsymphony & slot-in Flash, recommended and installed by Waterstons, transforms without re-engineering entire ERP:

PWS contacted DataCore Gold Partner, Waterstons, for advice on optimisation without re-engineering the whole ERP infrastructure. Waterstons recommended the install of the latest version of DataCore's SANsymphony platform together with affordable Micron P420 PCI-e flash cards for maximum performance enhancement and to provide continuous availability to boot. Simon Birbeck, Executive Consultant, Waterstons comments: "PWS were looking for fast transaction enablement and what we achieved was an entire transformation simply by addressing throughput and I/O latency."

Running in a dual node environment with synchronous mirroring between a pair of server rooms and automated failover, the latest version of SANsymphony was installed on two Dell T620 rackmount x86 servers using PCI-e flash for hot data and commodity disk for less frequently accessed blocks. This combination handled SQL back-end read and writes with ease, driving DataCore Parallel I/O with the storage server CPU and leveraging adaptive caching technology against generous DDR RAM. Application performance was boosted further still by the Micron Flash, fulfilling requests at lightning speeds.


Now ordering is fast and efficient, 14x faster with the optimised system. Customer Services efficiency has been bolstered, with an active working day saving of over 2% for every representative waiting for ERP system responses, and users no longer have to wait for the system to catch up with their input. Making modifications and additions to the system on the fly is also now possible. Previously accomplished using late night changes while utilisation was low, adding fields and modifying SQL under the optimised system can now be carried out even when the system is in use at peak trading times. Nightly invoice processing has reduced from 2 hours to 20 minutes. Daily management reporting on best-selling lines has been transformed from 30 minutes to an incredible 10 seconds. Other reports have also been impacted. Aggregated customer statistics queries' running millions of SQL executions used to take over 24 hours, even in low trading conditions. With this solution, mining takes just an hour.

"The ramifications of this seamless install have been far reaching for PWS trading patterns, from responsiveness of each transaction through to allowing us to add parameterised product navigation, and expand our entire product portfolio, safe in the knowledge that changes will be implemented instantaneously giving our clients the best possible experience." Andrew Buckingham, IT Manager, PWS Ltd.

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